Southern Colorado metalsmith Craig Barr proved his prowess in the world of fiery forges and sharp blades when he took top honors on a recent episode of the History Channel’s “Forged In Fire”.
In the first stage of the competition, four contestants were given three hours and a piece of coil spring to forge Asian weapons called karambits, curved-blade devices that are easily concealed for close combat. Barr had never made a karambit before, but he got it done amd moved through the show’s second stage, while two competitors were eliminated.
For the last part of the competition Barr and the other semifinalist were sent back to their home forges. Each had to make a Makraka, a sickle-shaped African sword about 19 inches long that was used in the early 1800s, often to decapitate the enemy during battle. The cutting edge is on the inside of the deep curve. The two smiths only had five days to make their Makrakas, and neither had made one before.
The “Forged In Fire” judges began testing the completed weapons by using them on a ballistic dummy — a fake torso with organs, bones and blood. Testing ended with a mock beheading using watermelons. Barr’s Makraka sliced through the melons handily, giving him the win.
Barr works at his Deer Mountain Forge in Cotopaxi, about 75 miles west of Pueblo. He spoke with Colorado Matters host Andrea Dukakis. Listen to their conversation and see a video of Barr demonstrating the sharpness of one of his tomahawks at cpr.org